Jimmy Callery eats up 3 resorts in a weekend.
“First queue of the holiday,” beams Carol Mckenna, overseas tour operator for Aosta Valley, Italy, pointing to a two-person line in front of us for the lift.
“Terrible isn’t it,” she jokes – and she has reason to glow with pride.
On our three-day excursion we ski the near-deserted slopes of Champoluc, Gressoney and Alagna, sampling great skiing, rustic Italian food and carefully selected local wines on the way.
At just over an hour’s drive from Turin, the ski-in ski-out Hotel de Champoluc serves us well with its glowing log fire lounge and hearty evening meals.
The accommodation is beside the main lift and, because of the size of the village, everything else is too. Next door is Le Sapin Bar-Restaurant where I’m fed a delicious cured deer and wild boar platter.
Our Ricola fish mountain lunch at the Belvedere in Gressoney is another highlight ; a bottle of crisp Ribolla Gialla white wine chilling beside us on the restaurant’s sun-warmed wooden terrace.
Afterwards we ski the Olen black run from Gressoney (2980m) to Alagna.
The shaded piste allows for photo-perfect views of the mountains’ jagged peaks.
We make it down to the resort where gorgeous Valsa-style wooden buildings dominate.
Back on our side of the valley, the Ostafa and Sarezza red runs offer well-pisted and varied intermediate skiing, typical of what’s on offer in Champoluc and Gressoney.
As with other Italian resorts, it‘s sunny almost without fail, which is perfect for those well-earned mountain stops.
At the end of our final day we’re treated to a three-hour session in the ultra-modern Monterosaterme spa in Champoluc. After relaxing in the facility’s green-lit sauna, I plunge into a pool of ice-cold water in an attempt to soothe my aching muscles. It hits the spot, and after a refreshing weisse beer in the hotel lobby I consider that shorter ski trips are often more rewarding than six-day breaks
Inghams offers 7 nights at Chalet Hotel de Champoluc from £599, including return flights to Gatwick to Turin. Ski and boot hire from £80. A 6-day area lift pass for Gressoney, Champoluc, Alagna inc. 2 days skiing in Courmayeur, La Thuille, Pila or Cervinia) costs from £140 (£40 saving on resort price).
Aosta Valley Monte Rosa Terme
Jimmy (pictured right) rented his gear from Mountain Warehouse, the UK’s largest on-line outdoor retailer.